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HeatCasters Exclusive Interview w/ Theory Hazit: Bridging The Gap Through Beats & Rhymes
As promised HeatCasters.com brings you an exclusive interview with the Humble beast himself as Imade discusses community, bridging the gap, and of course “Thr3e” Peep the goodness after the jump. Bless up!
Theory Hazit: Bridging The Gap Through Beats & Rhymes
Interview by Imade
Theory Hazit has two dimensions to his personality that is disparate as it is fascinating. Behind the battle rap punch lines and gripping stories is a quiet, thoughtful man. Theory has the self-effacing humility that would make you question if he ever made songs like “Ol D3rty Hazit” or “Late Night Beef”. But as you begin to look beneath the surface, it becomes evident that Theory’s music bridges the gap between many different spheres. His music reconciles an introvert to an emcee, and a passionate Christ follower to a dying world.
From a young age, Hip Hop was Theory’s primary language. “Because I wasn’t accepted [as a child] I just didn’t say nothing to anybody. I just did my own thing. I went so long like that that when it comes time to say something, I don’t know how to explain myself. That’s where the music came in.” Hip Hop filled this void and pulled Theory out of his shell. “I would do my thing and then leave, or go in a corner or something. All that changed. The more I went on the road with Braille, I learned how to communicate. I’m hitting up family members now, not just on birthdays. It’s been cool.”
The impetus for Theory’s social awakening came from a huge leap of faith. Several years ago, Theory and his family traveled from Cincinnati to Portland in search of something they couldn’t initially define. “I came here and I really didn’t know what to expect. I got around a group of people and next thing you know, I was seeing what the gospel really was. It’s been a blessing.” Inspired from that experience, the Humble Beast recording artist offers an important piece of advice for up and coming emcees. “Have community and a love for the art. Find a crew that has the same mission. Fellowship with them and be sure to be around them so they can sharpen you. It’s more than just the product. You don’t want to say, I got five mixtapes droppin’ this year. Invest time, get into community, and the rest will be history.”
Theory’s grounding in community, and ultimately in Christ has evolved his art form. His album Thr3e is the result of increased discipline. “I spent more time with God on this record. I grew in community, and I connected with new people.” Theory’s career focus also emerged from his spiritual growth. “It’s the album I spent the most time with. I actually studied and re-wrote lyrics. I don’t do that. I usually write something and go in. Dert [the sole producer of Thr3e] is intimidating. His beats are scary. You gotta do them justice. As you can hear, Dert and Humble Beast put in a lot of time.”
Theory’s self-acceptance is another reflection of his growth. “I’ve never been the gospel rapper type. I tried. I would always see reviews, yo, I don’t hear the gospel at all in this dude’s raps. That challenges me to bring it even more.” Theory embraces himself for who he isn’t and also for who he is. “I definitely want to bring everyone together and be the bridge. There’s a gap between Cross Movement fans, Lamp Mode fans, and Tunnel Rats fans. I kinda wanted to put them all together.”
Theory went about this through giving his album series an interesting name. “I have Jamaican cousins and one of the things they said was Lord Fire. I took the words separately and looked at them. Lord: like lord of my life. And then fire: as in it’s a light, symbol, and a spirit.” Theory describes this concept in one defining statement: “Being a Christian artist and coming with it. That was what Lord Fire was about. Letting your faith leak over the tracks and not being no punk. I’m tired of Christian Rap sounding corny. I’m tired of being labeled Christian Rap. It’s just rap. You don’t call Talib Kweil and Mos Def Muslim Rap. Lord Fire: Hardcore rap. Godcore rap. Nice boom bap dirty beats. And shining a light on everything.”
Theory’s traditional Hip Hop aesthetic surprisingly leans toward what he calls ‘pop rap’. “I have kids. And I’m trying to be one of their favorites. Every now and then I listen to what’s on the radio. And close my eyes and ask, if I was on the radio, what would I sound like. That’s where you have, Find M3, As the Day Go3s By, and I N3ed You More than 3ver. What I mean by pop rap, I don’t mean Brittany Spears or anything like that, but what’s popular. I go up against that and then mix it up with what I like to do.”
Whether it’s being a ‘pop rapper’ or a musical bridge, Theory knows who he is and what he’s called to do. Music is not just his mouthpiece but a reflection of his mission as well. “I have a heart for the youth. I have a heart for Hip Hop. And above all I have a heart for God.”